How London’s Air Ambulance Came To Our Rescue
In November 2006 I was driving my 9 year old son to school when we were involved in a horrendous car crash. In a split second, a routine event had turned into every parent’s worst nightmare.
It took a few seconds to recover from the shock of my airbag going off before I could turn to face my son sitting in the back seat – all I remember was an overwhelming feeling of fear and panic as I looked at my beautiful little boy, eyes closed, unconscious and with a huge bleeding gash to the side of his head where the side of the car had buckled.
I screamed his name, fumbling madly to release my seat belt so that I could get to him. As I got out of the car the words of one of my wonderful paramedic first aid instructors flashed into my mind
“Keep calm – you can’t help anyone if you’re in a flap”.
I took a deep breath and opened the far side door. My heart stopped – I knew I had to check whether my son was breathing but somehow I just couldn’t do it. I grabbed hold of one of the passers-by who had stopped and told them I needed them to check for me. He was breathing – phew – I took another deep breath.
Now I was ready to use the first aid skills I had been taught so many times over my years of running Safe and Sound.
Keeping a close eye on his airway and breathing, I applied pressure to the head wound and tried desperately to stay calm. A passerby had called an ambulance and I was able to speak to the control room to give them more details.
They advised me that they had called the Air Ambulance team and that they were on their way, as well as a regular ambulance and fire engine.
It was a wet, windy, dark, winter morning. Rush hour traffic was at a standstill. It took the emergency services nearly 20 minutes to get to us – the longest 20 minutes of my life.
I watched on as firefighters worked on cutting the side of the car away while the paramedics monitored my son’s condition. By the time they had safely got him out of the car, the air ambulance team had arrived.
My son was put into an induced coma to protect his brain and he was then taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel before being transferred to Great Ormond Street.
Thankfully, he regained consciousness within 48 hours and was back at school within a month having made a full recovery other than the action man like scar to his forehead.
I will be forever grateful to all the wonderful emergency service personnel who helped my son that day. These people dedicate their working lives to keeping us all Safe and Sound and we need to appreciate them for the difficult and often thankless work they do.
Written by Tina Lazarus – Founder and Director of Safe and Sound